‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ takes on the Apple/FBI encryption battle

John Oliver — from HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver — has unleashed his satirical brand of humor on Apple’s fight with the FBI over cell phone encryption, spending the last half of this week’s show on the issue. After pointing out the simplified way that Apple’s critics portray the security issues at stake in the case, Oliver admits it sounds scary. But once he lays out Apple’s case for not wanting to create code that could used to hack all of its devices, Oliver concludes, “The FBI and its supporters can be weirdly dismissive of that issue in ways that indicate they either don’t fully understand how technology works or are pretending not to.” The segment lambasts the government’s use of the All Writs Act to compel the company’s cooperation and the idea that the code Apple makes to access the phone can be destroyed after a single use.
Apple doesn’t escape Oliver’s wit — with the host taking digs at the company’s alleged tax avoidance, and suicide nets at its supplier factories — but his arguments lead to a conclusion that Apple’s arguments haven’t been sufficiently refuted by critics. His parody Apple ad, that concludes with the slogan “Join us as we dance madly on the lip of the volcano,” points out how hard it is for Apple’s engineers to stay ahead of hackers as it is, without working to undermine their own security features. The full clip has been posted above.

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